Dr. Rosalia (Lia) Sciortino Sumaryono

Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Rosalia (Lia) Sciortino Sumaryono, a cultural anthropologist and development sociologist by training, earned her master and doctorate at the Vrije Universities, Amsterdam with honors. Currently, she is Associate Professor at the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Visiting Professor at the Master in International Development Studies (MAIDS), Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and Senior Social Development and Health Advisor to Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction Program (MAMPU), a joint initiative of the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) implemented by Cowater in Indonesia. She also recently founded and directs the Foundation for Southeast Asian Studies and its core activity SEA Junction, a public venue for interaction and cross-learning on Southeast Asia (

Most recently, Dr. Sciortino was IDRC Regional Director for Southeast and East Asia in Singapore (2010-2014), Senior Adviser for the Health Program to the Australian Agency for International Development in Indonesia (2009-2010), and Regional Director for Asia of the Rockefeller Foundation (2000-2007) establishing during her tenure the Foundation’s Southeast Asia Office in Bangkok. Prior to that, she was program officer Gender, Health and Human Development at the Indonesia and Philippines offices of the Ford Foundation from 1993 to 2000.

Dr. Sciortino acts as a consultant for international and regional organizations, as an adviser for academic and international development institutions, and is a member of scientific and institutional boards. In November 2017, she received a medal by the Vietnamese Association of Social Sciences for her contribution to social sciences in Vietnam.

She has published widely on development issues in Southeast Asia, in particular philanthropy, international development, regional integration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and ASEAN, poverty and vulnerability, social protection, migration, gender, social health, sexual and reproductive health. A native of Palermo, Italy, she fluently speaks Italian, English, Indonesian and Dutch.